Album of the Week 31-2012: Dew-Scented – Icarus

It’s been quite a while since I last heard a new Thrash album that made my blood boil in excitement. Dew-Scented’s ninth album does just that. The Germans once again succeeded in making a brutal, high-paced Thrash Metal record that thorougly tested the muscles in my neck. Although…Germans? Since ‘Invocation’ two years ago, vocalist Leif Jensen exchanged all the musicians surrounding him for three Dutchmen. A brilliant choice; the guitar riffs Marvin Vriesde provided for this record are nothing less than spectacular.

Dew-Scented has always operated somewhere on the line between Thrash and Death Metal. Though ‘Invocation’ contained all the familiar Dew-Scented ingredients – as always led by Jensen’s trademark bark – the album showed the band moving a bit more towards a traditional Bay Area Thrash sound. And although ‘Icarus’ has a distinctly more European vibe than ‘Invocation’, I’d still say that this is pretty much a full-on Thrash Metal album, only with a Death Metal intensity, characterized by Jensen’s growl and Koen Herfst’s (limited) use of blastbeats.

Vriesde has already filled in for the band on various occasions throughout Dew-Scented’s line-up changes infested history, even playing half of the guitar solos on ‘Issue VI’, and he is truly the revelation of this album. His songwriting is as varied as is possible within the Dew-Scented paradigm, shifting back and forth between neck-breakingly fast passages, slightly more melodic bits (check that solo break in the killer opening track ‘Sworn To Obey’!) and more creeping, crushing midtempo bits (like the amazing ‘Reawakening’, also spotting a guest spot for Dan Swanö). Also, his guitar solos are compositionally the strongest Dew-Scented solos so far, surpassing the Slayer-ish screaming and dive-bombing of many of his predecessors, sometimes even offering a place for a little melody.

Giving Vriesde credit for all good about this album wouldn’t be fair though. Leif Jensen is still infused with the same amount of aggression as in the ‘Impact’ days, Koen Herfst is one of Holland’s best drummers, especially in the Death Metal field, and proves so on this album. Bass has never been a very prominent feature in Dew-Scented’s music – or anyone in their genre, really – but Joost van der Graaf demands his position within the music and fills it well. It all accounts for brilliant Thrashers, such as the surprisingly varied ‘Thrown To The Lions’, the very intense ‘The Fall Of Man’, ‘Gleaming Like Silver’, featuring Rob Urbinati from Canada’s severely and unjustly overlooked Sacrifice on guest vocals, and the aforementioned ‘Sworn To Obey’ and ‘Reawakening’. But really, all of the album is great and due to the surprisingly large amount of varation, it’s great from start to finish.

For those of you already familiar with Dew-Scented’s high-energy, high-speed and high-quality brand of brutal Thrash Metal, this album can be bought without any hestitation, but anyone who likes their Thrash Metal with the intensity of Death Metal or their Death Metal with the bloodthirsty sense of aggression found in Thrash Metal, Dew-Scented is your band. And ‘Icarus’ may even surpass ‘Impact’ as the album I’d recommend you to check out if you don’t know them yet.

Recommended tracks: ‘Thrown To The Lions’, ‘The Fall Of Man’, ‘Reawakening’, ‘Sworn To Obey’

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